Information for All Students Traveling Abroad
Emergeny Support and Procedures
All Princeton University travelers should become familiar with the resources available to them in an emergency or crisis. While most students experience a safe and healthy time abroad, some do encounter both minor emergencies (e.g. theft, illness, injury) and major crises (natural and environmental disasters, civil unrest, political uprising, terrorist attack, etc.).
Preparing for Emergencies
The first step in crisis management is being prepared before a crisis occurs. In most cases, you can respond to minor emergencies in the same way you would in a similar situation at home. However, what counts as a minor emergency at home can often be more difficult to handle abroad due to language and communication barriers and a lack of familiarity with your surroundings.
Make sure you learn the name and location of the hospital nearest to your residence abroad and how to contact the local police and summon emergency medical care. A list of 911 equivalents is posted on the Students Abroad website.
When traveling on weekends or over holiday periods, be sure to keep your local contacts and/or roommates or host family informed of your intended itinerary. Make sure the resident director, host family, or work supervisor who is assigned responsibility for your welfare always knows where and how to contact you in an emergency.
If you are part of an organized program abroad, make sure you are aware of the emergency plan for your program or university. If you are studying or interning abroad independent from an organized program, consider creating a personal emergency action plan that outlines what actions you would take in the event of an emergency.
Your emergency action plan should include a list of important phone numbers (emergency numbers in your host country, numbers for local supervisors/contacts and home embassy/consulate, numbers for International SOS and Princeton Public Safety) along with copies of your insurance papers, passport, and names of any medications to which you are allergic. You should input these numbers into your cell phone, if you carry one, but should also keep this information in at least one other location.
What to Do in Emergencies
Dealing well with a crisis situation includes understanding your emotions, keeping yourself as safe as possible, and communicating with your emergency contacts. It is important to remain calm and exercise good judgment. If you encounter less serious problems while abroad, it is best to check in with your on-site coordinator or local contacts before calling International SOS, Princeton University, or your family.
Should you encounter difficulties or problems that you cannot easily solve on your own, you should follow these steps:
- Take the necessary steps to secure your immediate physical safety (e.g. call 911 equivalent, go to the hospital, seek shelter).
- Contact International SOS. International SOS will work to meet your needs and will contact the University through the Departments of Public Safety and Risk Management while coordinating your services.
- Keep your phone line open and check e-mail if you can. In the case of a serious international incident, International SOS and Princeton University will try to reach you by using the contact information that you provided in the University Travel Database.
- Once the immediate situation has been addressed, you should contact your sponsoring department/program at Princeton to inform them of the situation. Princeton University Public Safety can coordinate this contact. The Public Safety office is on-call 24/7 at 609/258-1000.
International SOS Emergency Assistance
All Princeton faculty, staff, and students who participate in Princeton-sponsored travel abroad are automatically enrolled in and supported through International SOS, a 24-hour emergency assistance program (at no additional cost). Always carry your International SOS card with you. If you are not fluent in the language and need medical advice, remember to use your International SOS card. Weekend travel may present special problems, as you may find yourself in unfamiliar or remote locations. International SOS services include extensive medical assistance (e.g. information on travel health issues, referrals to English-speaking doctors, emergency and routine medical advice, and repatriation of mortal remains), personal assistance (e.g. legal referrals and lost document advice), as well as security evacuation.
Other services, such as emergency personal cash advance or translations and interpreters, are available for an additional fee. Note: International SOS is not medical nor trip cancellation insurance. Visit the University Travel website to review International SOS services that are available at no additional cost and those that are provided at additional cost (fees will apply): . To ensure a prompt response when calling International SOS, you should be prepared to provide the following:
- Princeton’s International SOS membership number: 11BSGC000022
- The telephone number from which you are calling (in case you are disconnected)
- Name, location, and telephone number of the hospital, clinic, and treating doctor (if applicable)
|If calling from:||Call Alarm Center in:||Call collect at:|
|U.S., Canada, Mexico, or South or Central America||Philadelphia|| +1-215-942-8226
toll-free from U.S. or
|Europe, Russia and former
Soviet Republics, Africa, or the
|Asia, Australia, or Pacific Rim||Singapore||
International SOS offers two online services: the Personal Travel Record and Your Emergency Record. The Personal Travel Record allows you to store your medical, travel, contact, and credit card information. You can allow International SOS to access this information in the event of an emergency. If you register Your Emergency Record, you will receive recommendations for appropriate vaccinations and reminders for follow-up boosters.
Office of Overseas Citizens Services
For U.S. citizens, emergency assistance is also available through the Office of Overseas Citizens Services, operated by the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. If you need to contact the Office of Overseas Citizen Services from overseas call 202/501-4444. They can help you:
- Replace a stolen passport
- Contact family and/or friends
- Obtain medical care
- Address emergency needs that arise as a result of a crime
- Obtain general information about the local criminal justice process and information about your case
- Obtain information about local resources to assist victims, including crime victim assistance and victim compensation programs
- Obtain a list of local English-speaking attorneys
The Office of Overseas Citizens Services cannot act as a travel agent, lend money, cash personal checks, arrange free medical service or legal advice, provide bail or get you out of jail, act as a courier or interpreter, search for missing luggage, or settle disputes with local authorities.